American Jonathan Byrd Extends Lead in Panama

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CORONADO, Panama - Talk about making the most of an opportunity.
 
Jonathan Byrd, playing on a sponsor's exemption, shot a 4-under par 68 on Friday and stretched his lead to three strokes after two rounds of the $200,000 Panama Open Panasonic, the final event of the 2000 Canadian Tour season.
 
The former All-American from Clemson University, who carded a nifty 66 on Thursday, started strong again on day two of the four-round event. He made the turn at the 6,983-yard, George Fazio designed, par-72 Coronado Resort Course at 3-under, and he moved to 4-under with a birdie on 10. He three-putted from 25 feet on 12, but answered with a birdie two on 16 to finish at 10-under 134 through 36 holes.
 
'I'm very happy where I ended up, but I did not play very well,' said Byrd, who advanced to the finals of PGA Qualifying School in 2000 and is a conditional member of the 2001 Buy.Com Tour.
 
'I left a lot of shots out there on the golf course today. If I'm going to win, I cannot afford to play like I did today, despite where I ended up on the leader board.'
 
Paired with Byrd, Joe Cioe shot 70 on Friday, but it could have been much lower. The Floridian missed six putts from eight feet or less, including an 8-inch putt on the par 3 8th hole.
 
Jace Bugg and Tom Straub, two shots back as round two began, both fired 2-under 70s on Friday and share third place, four behind Byrd.
 
Canadian Tour veteran Dave Branshaw, whose highest finish in 2000 was a tie for seventh in the Canadian Tour's MTS Classic, made the day's biggest move. The 31-year-old from Tampa shot 66 on Friday and is tied for fifth place - and five shots off the pace - as the field of 79 players heads into the weekend.
 
Rob McMillan and Jason Bohn, third and fourth respectively on the 2000 McDonald's Order of Merit and with an eye on the top spot with a win this week in Central America, have they worked cut out for them. McMillan shot even-par 72 on Friday and is tied for 38th place, 12 behind Byrd. Bohn had a 74 on Friday and is tied for 26th, one shot ahead of McMillan.